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Americans share fake news to fit in with social circles

  • Journalism and Facts
  • Social Media and Internet
  • Politics

Fear of exclusion contributes to spread of fake news, research finds

Read the journal article

  • Tribalism and Tribulations (PDF, 495KB)

WASHINGTON — Both conservative and liberal Americans share fake news because they don’t want to be ostracized from their social circles, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Conformity and social pressure are key motivators of the spread of fake news,” said lead researcher Matthew Asher Lawson, PhD, an assistant professor of decision sciences at INSEAD, a business school in France. “If someone in your online tribe is sharing fake news, then you feel pressure to share it as well, even if you don’t know whether it’s false or true.”

The research was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

The proliferation of fake news contributes to increasing political polarization and distrust of democratic institutions, according to the Brookings Institution. But fake news doesn’t always proliferate due to dark motives or a call for action. The researchers began studying the issue after noticing people in their own social networks sharing fake news seemingly without malicious intent or ideological purpose.

“Political ideology alone doesn’t explain people’s tendency to share fake news within their social groups,” Lawson said. “There are many factors at play, including the very basic desire to fit in and not to be excluded.”

One experiment analyzed the tweets and political ideology of more than 50,000 pairs of Twitter users in the U.S., including tweets sharing fake or hyper-partisan news between August and December 2020. (Political ideology was determined through a network-based algorithm that imputes ideology by looking at the types of accounts Twitter users follow.) The number of tweets between pairs of Twitter users in the same social circles were measured. Twitter users were less likely to interact with each other over time if one of them shared a fake news story and the other did not share that same story. The same effect was found regardless of political ideology but was stronger for more right-leaning participants.

A second experiment analyzed 10,000 Twitter users who had shared fake news in the prior test, along with another group that was representative of Twitter users in general. Twitter users who had shared fake news were more likely to exclude other users who didn’t share the same content, suggesting that social pressures may be particularly acute in the fake news ecosystem.

Across several additional online experiments, participants indicated a reduced desire to interact with social connections who failed to share the same fake news. Participants who were more concerned about the social costs of not fitting in were also more likely to share fake news.

While fake news may seem prolific, prior research has found that fake news only accounts for 0.15% of Americans’ daily media consumption, and 1% of individuals are responsible for 80% of fake news sharing. Other research found that election-related misinformation on Twitter decreased by 73% after Donald Trump was banned from the platform.

Many complex factors contribute to people’s decisions to share fake news so reducing its spread is difficult, and the role of social media companies isn’t always clear, Lawson said.

“Pre-bunking” methods that inform people about the ways that misinformation spreads and highlighting the importance of the accuracy of news can help reduce the spread of fake news. However, finding ways to ease the social pressure to conform in online spaces may be needed to start winning the war on misinformation, Lawson said.

Article: “Tribalism and Tribulations: The Social Costs of Not Sharing Fake News,” Matthew Asher Lawson, PhD, INSEAD, Shikhar Anand, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and Hemant Kakkar, PhD, Duke University, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, published online March 9, 2023.

Coughs And Cold Home Remedies – Tips For A Cold

Published on 01/17/2023
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You got a cold again? No wonder! There are over 200 different cold viruses that can get us. It affects adults up to four times a year, children even more often. But how can you quickly start the day fit again? We show you the best tips against cold symptoms.

Coughs and Cold Home Remedies – Tips For A Cold

Drink Enough

Warming herbal teas such as linden blossom tea, chamomile tea, thyme tea or elderflower tea are particularly beneficial. They not only provide fluid, but also have a calming, anti-inflammatory and warming effect. In addition, the mucus in the nose, sinuses and bronchi is liquefied from the inside. This makes it easier to blow your nose and cough up

Gargle

A cold usually begins with a sore throat, a sore throat or difficulty swallowing. Gargling with salt water (1/2 teaspoon in 1 glass of warm water) or sage tea helps against these unpleasant cold symptoms.

Cold bath

If a cold is looming, a warm cold bath is a good tip. The water should not be too hot (maximum 39 degrees, 20 minutes bathing time) and can be enriched with essential oils such as eucalyptus oil, pine needle oil or thyme oil. People at risk of allergies, people with asthma and children should avoid adding oils, this applies in particular to menthol. The essential substances it contains can irritate the respiratory tract in small children. Breathing problems up to life-threatening shortness of breath can be the result.

Rest and Relaxation

During a cold, the body is primarily concerned with getting rid of the pathogens. To do this, he needs enough energy. It is therefore a good cold tip to ensure relaxation, sufficient sleep and little stress. Physical exertion and sports should be avoided during a cold.

Home remedies

Home remedies are still a good way to relieve the common cold and get back on your feet quickly. Potato wraps, onion juice, and chicken soup are just a few examples that aid in recovery.

Inhale

Inhalations are also among the 10 best tips for colds. The inhaled water vapor moistens the airways and liquefies viscous mucus. Herbal supplements such as peppermint or chamomile have a calming and anti-inflammatory effect. For a steam inhalation you need a bowl of hot water. The head is not bent too close over the bowl and covered with a towel. Breathe deeply and calmly. Try breathing through both your mouth and your nose alternately.

Blow your nose properly

People with runny noses should be careful not to blow their noses too hard. Otherwise, the pathogenic pathogens can get into the paranasal sinuses and cause inflammation (sinusitis) there. Always hold one nostril closed and blow the other when blowing your nose. It’s safest to just wipe your nose and not blow your nose at all.

Keep warm

If you have a sore throat, wear a towel or scarf around your neck to keep it warm. Cold feet can be warmed up with a hot water bottle (caution: not if you have a fever). If your feet are cold, this leads to poor blood circulation throughout the body, especially in the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. This makes it easier for cold viruses to spread further.

Counseling psychologists serve persons of all ages and cultural backgrounds in individual, group (including couples and families), workplace, organizational, institutional, and community settings. They work with groups and communities to assist them in addressing or preventing problems, as well as to improve the personal and interpersonal functioning of individual members. Counseling psychologists also intervene in organizations, institutions, workplaces, and communities to enhance their effectiveness, climate, and the success and well-being of their members.